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Minneapolis police oversight bid will get the attention it deserves

August 10, 2018

This just in: Reason has won the day in Minneapolis at least for now.

An ill-advised and rushed attempt by some City Council members to exert more authority over the citys Police Department will not be on the November ballot, thanks to the adults at the citys Charter Commission. The commission voted Wednesday to take the rest of the year to study the potential impact of the proposal and let the public have more say.

Commission Chairman Barry Clegg succinctly summed up the reasonable decision: The mayor has been in charge of the Police Department for 98 years. To change it without doing any research or public input seems hasty to me.

A task force appointed by the commission will look at police management in other cities, assess the current structure in Minneapolis, analyze how the proposed changes might affect police morale and hold three public hearings before submitting a final report in January.

The Editorial Board previously expressed its opposition to Council Member Cam Gordons proposed amendment to the city charter to give the 13-member City Council and the mayor equal authority over the Police Department, arguing that oversight by 14 elected officials would likely lead to less accountability, not more.

But a council that seems increasingly responsive to small but vocal groups of activists in the city thought otherwise, and the charter change was on a fast track until the Charter Commission vote. The commissions decision doesnt kill the idea, but it keeps it off the ballot and facilitates the kind of review the City Council should have required in the first place.

Editors note: This editorial is excerpted from Thursdays edition of the daily Star Tribune Opinion e-mail newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, which highlights the best of editorial and commentary and notes from editorial page editor Scott Gillespie, go to tinyurl.com/StribOpinion.

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